My friend Marty brought it up again a few weeks back. He watched it on MLB Network. And he was clear that in every single position, the Orioles had a better player.
Come on now, really do we want to compare Ed Kranepool (.238) with John Wesley “Boog” Powell? or Ron Swoboda (.235) with Frank Robinson?
Yes, I’m bringing up that disaster of a World Series with the crummy New York Mets. The 69 Orioles were an amazing team. To be fair, the Mets had super pitching with Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman plus another starter in a young Nolan Ryan.
I’m written about this before in my old newspaper. How it was really my family’s fault that the Orioles lost that series. I was living in my house in Falls Church, Virginia for the entire 69 season.
The Birds from Baltimore were making a mockery out of the American League. On June 19, Baltimore sported a 47-17 record for a sizzling .734 winning percentage. On that same date, the Mets were six games over .500.
Anyway, it was a romp. My only concern that summer was that team in Chicago. Players like Ron Santo, Billy Williams and Ernie Banks scared me a little.
But Baltimore was so good it really didn’t matter who they would play in the World Series. On July 17, right-hander Jim Hardin beat the White Sox. He pitched a complete game two-hit shutout. And we can give him credit for winning the game on offense as well. Hardin hit a three-run homer in that game. The final was 17-0.
The Orioles were a baseball machine.
The O’s won a baseball best 109 games that summer and fall. But my parents weren’t paying attention. They wanted a new start and we were moving to Florida. The only good news here was that I was getting out of a French class that I was flunking.
I had watched the Orioles dismantle the Minnesota Twins in a three-game sweep in the first ever American League championship series. And it was time to go to the World Series. But the Cubs didn’t make it that year. Instead it was that Mets team from New York. Heck, seven years earlier, they had posted a 40-120 record.
But my life was in shambles. It was time to move to Florida and leave all my friends behind. My parents allowed me to listen to game one of the World Series on the car radio. Don Buford homered to open the series and we beat Tom Seaver 4-1. Both Buford and winner Mike Cuellar drove in runs off the Mets’ ace in a three-run fourth inning. One thing was clear. The best team in baseball was going to blow the doors off the Mets’ bus.
And then I had to go to school and couldn’t watch the day games on TV. There were crazy rumors going around that the Orioles were losing. No, it couldn’t be. We were too good.
I was supposed to be in my house watching the Orioles win the series. It’s my parents’ fault that the Orioles lost that series.
And now my youngest child, Nolan, named after former Orioles catcher Joe Nolan, parades around the house wearing Mets’ hats and jackets. I just mutter that the Mets cheated to win that series. We were the better team. It’s not fair.